DARPA's satellite cluster project enters design phase

Architects envision 'embedded computing cloud in the sky'

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded Raytheon a $2.4 million contract to design the network for the agency’s Future, Fast, Flexible, Fractioned, Free-Flying Spacecraft (System F6) project in which an ad hoc wireless network would tie together groups of satellite clusters — each containing up to 100 satellites — so that they can autonomously share basic data and communications-related tasks while also trading off missions if one of them fails to function properly or falls out of orbit, reports Paul McLeary at Aviation Week’s Ares Blog.

The company plans to construct "a content-centric network," Craig Partridge, principal investigator at Raytheon’s BBN Technologies, told Ares Blog.

“We’re building an embedded computing cloud in the sky with real-time requirements and multiple users," Partridge said, adding “we have to make that dynamic network safe for real-time mission-critical activities.”

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